“Prevention is better than cure”. We all know this, right? This is what preventative medicine is all about: building a healthy future. And when it comes to living a long and healthy life, we know what we should do. we know what it takes.
We know it is a good idea to live a healthy lifestyle, to go for those check-ups, to attend screening health checks, and to act on any early warning signs that our health might be suffering. But the reality is that many of us put off going to the doctors, we don’t look after ourselves as well as we could, and we are great at ignoring those niggling symptoms, in the hope they might go away.
And why do we find it so hard, to live healthily, and to really look after ourselves? Well, there are lots of reasons, but one of the biggest issues is mindset. It’s your attitude, your approach and your beliefs. These are what will determine your actions, your motivation, and your ability to put self-care at the top of the agenda.
So here are the main mindsets that you can cultivate, to max out all those wonderful preventative health activities that will help us live longer and healthier.
Begin with the end in mind.
Knowing where you are trying to go, knowing what you’re aiming for is half the battle when it comes to planning out your healthy lifestyle. But this is more than having a clear goal. This is about creating a vision for your future that excites you. A vision that fills you with joy every time you think about it. A vision that comes from the heart and is in line with who you really are. When we begin with this end in mind, it is much easier to get motivated and start taking action.
This is all about taking small consistent action steps to achieve big results. So many of us start a new health project, like getting fit, or losing weight, or eating healthy with huge enthusiasm. We fly off at great speed, and we try to make big changes all at once. This is understandable, but in fact it often results in giving up before you have reached your goal. When we are prepared to take much smaller steps, you will have more chance of succeeding in the long term.
Fly long haul.
This is all about being in it for the long haul. So often we expect instant results, instant recovery, instant effects and when we hold this expectation and the results take a bit longer, we are disappointed and liable to give up. The reality is that when it comes to making changes to your lifestyle, it works so much better if you are prepared to go slowly and steadily. In other words be prepared to fly long haul.
Self love and self care
YOU ARE WORTH IT!! To look after yourself and to nurture yourself takes the mindset that you are important. Your needs are as important as the needs of others.This means taking your own health seriously and being prepared to invest in it. It could be anything, from attending your GP surgery for your health MOT or a cervical smear, or joining a group programme, to approaching a personal trainer or coach for support and guidance. when we look at this as self-care rather than self-indulgence, seeing this as self-love rather than selfishness, then we can start to make huge progress.
Be a team player.
We are so used to have to doing things by ourselves, to toughing it out , going it alone. In fact you probably take pride in your independence. But the reality is that lifestyle medicine is a team game: the more you can do things together with others, be that weight loss, healthy eating or tackling a fitness programme, the greater your chance of success. Research has shown that such a group or team approach provides motivation, validation, connection and results.
Tracking is the mindset of recording what you are doing. It takes a bit of patience, and self organization. It means facing the reality of where you are at the start (not always a pleasant experience!) and creating some kind of record of your journey, as you work towards your goal. It is such a simple and yet powerful tool. Seeing the record of your progress provides motivation and it provides evidence that change really is happening, even the bad days when you doubt it is all worth it.
‘Make time now for health or make time later to be sick’. So it takes the mindset of investing in yourself and in your health. Lifestyle medicine means being proactive, participative, and building your future with your own hands. Making time now, to eat healthily, to exercise regularly, not to drink too much alcohol , to resting when you are tired and to work with someone if you need support, guidance, nurture and support…. all of these things are an investment. And your health will pay you back in the long run.
So I think we can all recognise that prevention is better than cure. That avoiding getting sick in the first place is a worthwhile investment in your own health and in your own life. Even if that means get support, help, guidance, and spending time and money on your self-care this year. Future proofing your health is ALWAYS worthwhile!!
Anyone can cultivate these mindsets. It is a question of understanding your own perspective, your beliefs, and your values, and getting really honest with yourself about what is the most important thing for you. Because when it comes to good long term heath, the power lies in your hands.
Preventative medicine is the medicine of the future. But it is more than simply establishing a diagnosis. Or making a treatment plan. And this is where coaching comes in. Coaching is what looks at the mindsets that will help us to shift our behaviour. It is coaching that support the process of transformation. And it is coaching that will help you build the mindsets for success.
If you would like help or support with your health and your approach in this way, you can read more about this approach over on the ‘work with me’ page. And you can always book a free 15 minute session with me just to talk things through. All you have to do is get in touch! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to hear from you.